4th Ave. (corner of 124th St.), Troy, 235-0444. Serving Tue-Sat
11:30-9. D, MC, V.
price range: $7.25 (spaghetti dinner) to $13.75 (linguini
with clam sauce)
B. A. Nilsson
Uncle Sam, Testo’s is a Troy institution, a 31-year-old phenomenon
that defies both the logic and the odds of the restaurant
industry. No effort is made here to adapt to dining trends.
No market-research-fueled design innovations have changed
the look of the place. As other North Troy eateries come and
go, Testo’s continues to do what it’s been doing all along.
And it thrives.
We saw the evidence during a recent middle-of-the-week visit.
We arrived before six for dinner (early for me) and found
the place already dotted with diners; by the time we left,
it was practically full. And that doesn’t count the vigorous
stayed the course,” says John Testo, one of the second-generation
owners. “We’ve weathered all the storms.” The secret, he explains,
is simple: “We stick with what we do best.”
He runs the place with his brother, Chuck; their father founded
it and developed a menu based on familiar family recipes.
The food addict in me loves oversized, multi-page menus in
imposing bindings. A seemingly unlimited amount of food is
available; the possibilities seem reassuringly endless. And
then comes the moment of truth. The server stands by, order
pad poised, eyebrows up, waiting. What’ll it be?
You scan the pages in a panic now. Do I commit to lasagna?
Do I really want a steak? Because this is it: This is your
Thankfully, at Testo’s you’re confronted with a compact menu,
two pages of options that pretty much cover the standards.
And the indecisive diner in me was grateful.
We had an antipasto ($8.50) to start, proving that even with
only two pages in front of me I’m incapable of reading closely—two
of the entrées we ordered are served with salads. Even though
our very accommodating server no doubt would have let me change
my appetizer without fuss, I was too stubborn or embarrassed
(or both) to budge.
Besides, that meant that the salad recipients—my wife and
daughter—would be less inclined to plunder my antipasto plate,
and who, when you get right down to it, really wants to share
food? There’s a deep, antediluvian desire to hoard.
unexpected about the antipasto. A bed of unchallenging iceberg,
slices of salami and a couple of types of ham, onions, olives,
tomatoes, chunks of provolone—your standard-issue assortment,
but an easygoing starter when there’s pasta ahead.
And this isn’t to ignore the other appetizer choices, which
include roasted red peppers, pasta e fagioli, mozzarella
sticks, chicken wings and more, and even a fried combo platter,
all in the $6-$7 range.
Here are the bargains. Pasta dinners, starting with spaghetti,
ziti or linguine, served with a salad and bread, for $7.25.
Add mushrooms or peppers, or make a dinner out of cavatelli,
it’s $10. And for less than $11 there’s ravioli, lasagna,
stuffed shells and more, including my daughter’s entrée: ziti
Alfredo with broccoli ($10.75).
means cream, a cream sauce made with egg yolks and cheese,
about as rich a topping as they come, a dinner that lights
up the palate. For once, she wasn’t the least interested in
the pizza I ordered, and she insists that had nothing to do
with the anchovies on it.
That’s my pizza secret, you see. Top it with anchovies and
you never have to share. Testo’s is justifiably celebrated
for its pizza, boxes of which fly out of the place like a
blizzard, and your dinner options are eight- or 12-cut pies
with the familiar choice of toppings. Go with one item and
it’s $9.50 for the eight-cut—a generous-sized square pan—and
$13 for the 12. The eight will serve three people who aren’t
too worried about the math.
I went with an eight-cut topped with “the works,” a monument
of sausage and mushrooms and peppers and onions and on and
on and, of course, those salty little fish strips. A terrific
dinner, and a terrific lunch the following day.
Only one chicken preparation is listed, so it took my wife
a few moments to zero in on it. (Were chickens ever to disappear
from the earth, I’d have to find a new dining companion.)
As parmigiana, it’s available on a mozzarella-topped torpedo
roll ($6.75) or in dinner form ($11.50). She ordered the latter,
which comes with a side of spaghetti, and there’s not much
out of the ordinary to report. It’s a classic.
Other entrée options include eggplant parmigiana ($11.50),
sausage and peppers or sausage and mushrooms ($12), veal and
peppers, veal parmigiana or veal and eggplant ($13.50). The
most costly items, at $13.75 apiece, are the seafood dishes,
which include baked haddock, shrimp scampi, baked scallops
and linguine with red or white clam sauce.
We had a show to catch; we didn’t stay for dessert. But we
did stop in next door and pick up a quart of Testo’s meat
sauce, a product good enough to make it to the shelves of
local supermarkets. Tonight I’ll prepare some pasta, top it
with the sauce, and enjoy an echo of the pleasant time at
Testo’s. I’ll even share it with the rest of my family.
here for a list of recently reviewed restaurants.
Bistro (Clinton &
Broadway, Albany) celebrates its 23rd anniversary
with a special dinner at 6 PM on Friday, Nov 16.
A champagne reception kicks things off, then enjoy
halibut and sole dumplings in a lobster cognac
sauce, arugula and endive salad, and a Trio of
Veal entrée, each course paired with an appropriate
wine. And there’s dessert! Music is performed
by Ed Clifford. Tickets to the perception are
$80 per person plus tax and gratuity. Call 465-1111.
. . . Travel to Italy by way of the Adirondacks
when Milano North and the Courtyard by
Marriott host a getaway weekend in Lake Placid
Nov 9-11. The two-night stay includes a wine reception
Friday, two breakfasts, and a five-course Italian
wine dinner on Saturday featuring the wines of
the Feudi di San Gregorio Estate, a winery in
southern Italy’s Campania region. Export manager
Robin Shay will to introduce the wines at the
dinner. Prices are $550 per couple, $395 per single,
taxes and gratuities included; there also are
seats available for the wine dinner only ($75
per person). Call 523-2900 for the weekend, 523-3003
for the dinner only. . . . Liz and Jerry Lavalley,
owners of Manchester, Vt.’s Reluctant Panther
(which includes an excellent restaurant reviewed
here a few months back) were recently named Innkeepers
of the Year by Governor Douglas. . . . Remember
to pass your scraps to Metroland.
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very much enjoyed eating dinner at Daniel's
at Ogdens. You review described my dining
experience perfectly. This wasn't the case
with Pancho's. I much prefer Garcia's or
Lake View Tavern for Mexican fare. I agree
that a restaurant can have an off night
so I'll give the second unit on Central
Avenue a try.
yes I miss the star ratings, bring it back.
Second, I haven't had a chance to visit
Poncho's yet, but I especially like reading
would travel to Amsterdam to this restaurant
- it's not that far away. People traveled
from all over to eat at Ferrandi's in Amsterdam.
From his background, I'm sure the chef's
sauce is excellent and that is the most
important aspect of an Italian restaurant.
Sometimes your reviewer wastes words on
the negative aspects of a restaurant. I'm
looking forward to trying this restaurant
- I look forward to Metroland every Thursday
especially for the restaurant review. And
by the way Ferrandi's closed its Amsterdam
location and is opening a new bistro on
Saratoga Lake - Should be up and running
in May. It will be called Saratoga Lake
Bistro. It should be great!
comments about the Indian / Pakistani restaurants
being as "standardized as McDonald's"
shows either that you have eaten at only
a few Indian / Pakistani restaurants or
that you have some prejudices to work out.
That the physical appearances are not what
you would consider fancy dancy has no bearing
on the food. And after all, that is what
the main focus of the reviews should be.
Not the physical appearances, which is what
most of your reviews concentrate on.
A restaurant like The Shalimar, down on
Central Avenue, may not look the greatest,
but the food is excellent there. And the
menu has lots of variety - beef, lamb, vegetarian,
chicken, and more..